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Gut Microbes


The etiopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) is strongly affected by environmental factors such as diet and the gut microbiota. An isoflavone-rich (ISO) diet was previously shown to reduce the severity of MS in the animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Translation of this concept to clinical trial where dietary isoflavones may be recommended for MS patients will require preliminary evidence that providing the isoflavone-rich diet to people with MS (PwMS) who lack phytoestrogen-metabolizing bacteria has beneficial effects. We have previously shown that the gut microbiota of PwMS resembles the gut microbiota of mice raised under a phytoestrogen-free (phyto-free) diet in that it lacks phytoestrogen-metabolizing bacteria. To investigate the effects of phytoestrogens on the microbiota inflammatory response and EAE disease severity we switched the diet of mice raised under a phyto-free (PF) diet to an isoflavone-rich diet. Microbiota analysis showed that the change in diet from one that is ISO to one that is PF reduces beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium species. In addition we observed functional differences in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) biosynthesis pathways. Moreover LPS extracted from feces of mice fed an ISO diet induced increased production of anti-inflammatory cytokines from bone marrow-derived macrophages relative to fecal-LPS isolated from mice fed a PF diet. Eventually mice whose diet was switched from a PF diet to an ISO diet trended toward reduced EAE severity and mortality. Overall we show that an isoflavone-rich diet specifically modulates LPS biosynthesis of the gut microbiota imparts an anti-inflammatory response and decreases disease severity.

Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Cytokines; Diet; Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental; Gastrointestinal Microbiome; Inflammation; Isoflavones; Lipopolysaccharides; Mice; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Phytoestrogens

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